GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The City of Gastonia is suing the company that operates the Gastonia Honey Hunters for failing to meet financial obligations and breaching agreements.

Documents state that the City of Gastonia entered into an Exclusive Use Area Lease Agreement, as well as a Use and Operating Agreement with NC Gas House Gang, LLC in June 2020, with the intention that a professional baseball team sanctioned by the Atlantic League would operate a full-season schedule in the multi-million dollar stadium.

In the agreements, it was decided that NC Gas House Gang, LLC would manage and be responsible for the stadium and surrounding premises.

The stadium is currently owned by the City of Gastonia with a property tax value of $7,469,600 and has the capacity to seat roughly 2,000 people.

According to the lawsuit, the operating company “has a history of materially breaching the agreements and failing to meet its financial obligations.”

The lawsuit states that everything came to a head when The Atlantic League terminated the operating company’s membership on or about November 13, 2023.

“This termination by the Atlantic League constitutes a team default under the agreements, which entitles the city to terminate the agreements,” the lawsuit states.

More on what this means from Chief Legal Analyst Khalif Rhodes:

The City of Gastonia said that given that this ‘team default’ can’t be fixed, they’re now seeking a preliminary injunction to secure their multi-million dollar asset, the stadium.

The City is also seeking a declaration of its rights to terminate the agreements and the operating company’s right of possession of the property, as soon as possible.

According to court documents, back in August 2023, the Atlantic League sent a letter to NC Gas House Gang, LLC’s managing member and president Brandon Bellamy, detailing how they were in violation of the Atlantic League Bylaws and League Affiliation Agreement.

The letter concluded with the following words of caution: ‘In summary, if NC Gas House Gang, LLC, does not immediately undertake good faith efforts to cure its defaults and improve its financial and operating integrity, the Atlantic League will have little choice but to consider strategic alternatives, including revocation of Atlantic League Membership.”

Statement released from the City of Gastonia to Queen City News:

“The City of Gastonia filed suit against NC Gas House Gang, LLC for breach of contract. The City is seeking a preliminary injunction to establish sole possession of the ballpark facility in order to protect the significant public investment. The City will continue to make the ballpark facility a viable place for all types of future events, including Atlantic League Professional Baseball.”